A new primary school, nursery and residential apartments which funded the development
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA London Regional Award winner 2021
Hawkins\Brown for The London Borough of Hackney
Contract value: undisclosed
Tiger Way co-locates a school alongside a residential block in Hackney, with the architect proving that this complex emerging typology can be done exceptionally well and provide real social value.
Two residential blocks and a school share a three-storey plinth occupying almost the entire site. The school sits to the north, punctuated by cut-away ground-level outdoor areas, while the housing to the south comprises two separate towers overlooking Hackney Downs Park. Set back from the southern edge, these combine with the plinth in a modulated way that does not overwhelm the general massing. To the north, the school fence is porous, creating identity and interest at street level that respects the scale of neighbouring buildings.
The school’s outdoor play requirement is successfully met by making use of its roof in a rich and engaging way. It is spatially adept, creating pockets such as the park room, with a good use of budget despite a challenging brief.
The exterior is well-detailed with generous openings, combining rationality and cohesiveness with a sense of humility. Texturally rich, striated terracotta clads both parts of the building; its cream colour eschews pandering to default ‘primary’ colours. Housing blocks connect to the street with considered scale, modulation and a planted setback while inset terrace detailing and double-fronted ground-floor units giving an upmarket feel.
Inside, the school’s whitewashed decor is elegant and simple. Space organisation allows for passive surveillance with views out or across cut-outs, a refreshing alternative to the double-loaded corridors typifying many schools. With a Soft Landings strategy in place, the resolution of Tiger Way looks deceptively simple, but clearly is not. It should make a terrific contribution to its neighbourhood.